“Two drifters off to see the world, there’s a lot of world to see.”
Today’s theme music is “Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Why not? Based on Truman Capote’s novella, the movie was released in 1961. The song came out the same year. I was five, so I don’t remember much of that, but Mom loved music and movies, and she exposed me to these things. After In Cold Blood came out, I read it and then read other Capote works, including Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
The song and movie are an emblem of the times. Johnny Mercer wrote the song’s lyrics, and Henry Mancini composed the music. Those are some big names in that business. George Pepard and Audrey Hepburn starred in the movie, which was directed by Blake Edwards. Pepard’s character was gay, gay in 1961, and the world didn’t come apart. Hell, Capote was gay. Yet, now, a zillion years later, some in the world want to turn back time, back to the way things were. Did they forget that gays existed back then?
(*snark alert* Yes, I know, they haven’t forgotten, but gays and the coloreds knew their place, then, didn’t they, in this white mythical world where everyone was happy as long as everyone was kept in their place.)
What the movie was and what it was supposed to be, like the novella, like our times, and our memories of those times, depends upon your baggage. I thought that song was perfect in many ways, romantic, hopeful, and smooth, tidying up an image and glossing over deeper struggles. The song and movie came out right before the explosions of the 1960s. When we think of it, we don’t think of the grace of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and “Moon River.” We’re more likely to remember riots, demonstrations, the civil rights movement, protests, and the expanding Vietnam War. Really, 1961 was still part of the fifties.
Many sang or recorded “Moon River” but Mom liked Andy Williams, so that’s the version that I know best.